UAW Local 4121 is the Union at UW of Academic Student Employees, Postdocs, and Research Scientists/Engineers.  We are RAs, TAs, Tutors, Graders, Trainees, Fellows, Postdoctoral Scholars and Researchers. We are 8,000 strong at all 3 UW campuses: Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell. UW works because we do.

We have come together as a union to build power and voice for ourselves, and to advocate for our professions and the academic environment. Individually, our influence is limited. By standing together, we can have a strong voice in our departments, throughout the university, and in the state and federal governments that fund our work.

Our union is centered around three core principles:

Social Impact:

  • Higher education is a public good, and should not be aimed at making money but at serving its role as an institution that is fundamentally by and for the community, and accessible to all.
  • As a University with substantial influence and broad impact, we have a responsibility to take a strong role — on campus, in the streets, in the Legislature, in City Hall, in Congress, and beyond — championing issues that directly impact our communities, including climate justice, racial justice, and federal funding for sciences, arts, and humanities.
  • As workers at one of the most prestigious research universities in the country, our work generates significant value for both the University and the broader community, and we ought to be compensated accordingly.


  • The University should be a place where everyone can work and study free from discrimination and marginalization based on factors such as race, gender, citizenship, country of origin, and disability.
  • Everyone, regardless of citizenship, should have a political voice — free from targeted hate speech or institutional practices that silence marginalized voices — including the right to organize and form unions.
  • We as a union fight for policies and practices that guarantee safety and economic and cultural security for all.
  • We are unapologetically centered around equity, both in our organizing for structural change at the University of Washington and our broader communities, and internally in our union work and spaces. For more on our internal work, check out Equity and Union Culture.

Working Conditions:

  • All workers should be able to afford to live where they work, and no one should have to pay to work.
  • Everyone should have security in their employment and access to affordable quality healthcare for themselves and their dependents.
  • Members who are both students and workers should have sufficient support to develop our careers after graduation, we should be funded commensurately with our fields’ average degree lengths, and we should have access to a healthy work-life balance.